June 12, 2009: Mets Lose on Castillo's Error

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Date: June 12, 2009
Mets starter: Livan Hernandez
Mets: 8
Yankees: 9
Winning pitcher: Mariano Rivera
Key player(s): Luis Castillo, Alex Rodriguez
Key play: Luis Castillo's two-run error in ninth

Coming into the first Subway Series of 2009, the Mets lost two of three to the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field while the Yankees were swept at Fenway Park by the Boston Red Sox. With an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the ninth, the game appeared to end in a Mets win when Alex Rodriguez popped up with two outs, but three-time Gold Glove winner second baseman Luis Castillo dropped the ball, leading to two unearned runs that gave the Yankees a 9-8 win.

Livan Hernandez got the start for the Mets while Joba Chamberlain started for the Yankees. Both pitchers threw a perfect first. Chamberlain allowed a leadoff single to David Wright in the second, but retired the next three batters to end the inning. Robinson Cano's one-out homer in the bottom of the inning put the Yankees up 1-0.

The Mets scored two runs in the top of the third without a hit when Chamberlain walked leadoff hitter Brian Schneider before Luis Castillo grounded into a forceout. After he stole second, Chamberlain walked Alex Cora and hit Fernando Martinez with a pitch to load the bases. Chamberlain then walked Carlos Beltran to tie the game before striking out Wright. Ryan Church was then hit by a pitch to force in another run, putting the Mets up 2-1, before Gary Sheffield grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, Brett Gardner hit a leadoff single and after Derek Jeter grounded out and Nick Swisher flew out, Mark Teixeira homered to put the Yankees back in front 3-2. Alex Rodriguez doubled before Robinson Cano flew out to left to end the inning. Chamberlain held the Mets scoreless in the top of the fourth despite allowing two walks while Hernandez retired the Yankees in order in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the fifth, Brett Tomko in relief allowed a leadoff double to Carlos Beltran, who then stole third. After David Wright walked, Ryan Church doubled to score both runners, putting the Mets up 4-3. Church would reach third on an error before Gary Sheffield homered to put the Mets up 6-3. The Yankees cut it to 6-4 in the bottom of the inning on Derek Jeter's home run.

David Robertson held the Mets scoreless in the top of the sixth and in the bottom of the inning, Hernandez got A-Rod to lineout to center before allowing a single to Robinson Cano and walking Jorge Posada. Jon Switzer relieved Hernandez and Hideki Matsui, celebrating his 35th birthday, hit a three-run home run to left that put the Yankees ahead 7-6. Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner then grounded out to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Gary Sheffield hit a leadoff double off of Robertson, who was then relieved with Phil Coke. Daniel Murphy then singled to right to put runners on first and third with no outs. Sheffield would score on Fernando Tatis's ground ball double play, tying the game. Sean Green held the Yankees scoreless in the bottom of the inning despite allowing two walks.

In the top of the eighth, Coke retired Alex Cora and Fernando Martinez before being relieved by Mariano Rivera, who walked Carlos Beltran before David Wright's double put the Mets on top again 8-7. Rivera then struck out Ryan Church to end the inning. Green retired the Yankees in order in the bottom of the eighth and Rivera did the same to the Mets in top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth, newly acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez got Brett Gardner to pop up behind home plate before Derek Jeter singled to center. Rodriguez then struck out pinch-hitter Johnny Damon, but Jeter stole second, prompting the Mets to intentionally walk switch-hitter Mark Teixeria to bring up A-Rod, who was 1 for 17 lifetime versus K-Rod. A-Rod popped the 3-1 pitch up between first and second, but Luis Castillo, not being directly under the ball, dropped it. In an attempt to double off A-Rod, he threw the ball to second and this delay allows not just Jeter, but Teixeira to score to give the Yankees a 9-8 win while K-Rod suffered his first blown save as a Met.